Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beautiful Kauai

So in the last blog post I described some of the official goings on at the AgroLiquid Research Trip to Kauai. We had some educational field tours of island agriculture, some hopefully inspirational and motivational addresses to many of the top sellers of AgroLiquid, and most importantly, a chance to soak up some of the beauty of this island paradise.  So in this episode, I wanted to share some of the cool pictures that I took.  Below is a resting Monk Seal.  Monk Seals are found only in Hawaii, and they are very much a protected species.  They come ashore from time to time to rest.  And when they do, a protective zone is established with poles and yellow tape.  It is against the law to harass them.  Sleep well.  In fact, a short time later I had climbed up on top of that cliff in the background and we saw it swimming away...well rested no doubt.
Now I am fortunate to have been to Kauai several times over the years.  They say the best way to see the island is from a helicopter.  But alas, I had never done that.  Well this time I did, and it was great.  There are a number of helicopter companies, but I picked one that only had a pilot and four passengers....and no doors.  That would be a couple and the pilot in the front, and two in the back, each by an opening where there should be a door. That's where I was.  So this would be great.  I will say that I was a little nervous lifting off, but soon got used to it.  
 There have been numerous movies and TV shows filmed on Kauai over the years.  Below is the beach that was part of the land owned by George Clooney's family in The Descendants.  It is called Kipu Kai beach and is not accessible by land, as it really is privately owned.  But one thing about Hawaii is, that you can own the land, but not the beach.  So if you can get there by boat, then come on down!
We flew by Manawaiopuna Falls in the Hanapepe Canyon.  But it is better known as the falls in Jurassic Park.  It too is not accessible by land.  Well I guess you could walk...if you want to maybe get eaten by a dinosaur.
Most visitors to Kauai visit Waimea Canyon.  It is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  Well you can drive to various lookouts along the main canyon.  But there are arms of the canyon that you can only see from a helicopter, like here.  I guess I didn't know that.  It was cloudy that day in parts of the island, but still impressive to see.
And here is that sea cave that Captain Jack Sparrow walked out of in Pirates of the Caribbean.  Well actually this is the backside.  The sun prevented a good shot on the other side that was in the movie.  So you'll have to settle for Johnny Depp's backside...well if you were there during filming.
But here is what it looks like from the ocean.  It's that opening on the lower right.
Here is the famous Kalalau Valley from the overlook, not the helicopter.  It is along the Napali Coast.  It is a series of beautiful cliffs along the ocean.  In fact I am 4000 feet above the ocean here.  It was alternating sunny and cloudy.  A few minutes before and a few minutes after this pic, it was solid clouds and you couldn't see the ocean or anything.  But everyone knows how patient I am, so I waited for the good shot.
Here is the end of the canyon from the helicopter.  It is said that there used to be more than a thousand Hawaiians living in and around the valley. You would really have to like fish if you lived there I guess.  
Here is the beach at the end of the Kalalau Trail.  It is a little over 11 miles from the start of the trail, and pretty treacherous.  Or so I've read.  I'm not doing it, although I have read that it's spectacular.  But it's walk in, camp here, and walk out.  No taxi service.  You can see a tent down there.
And here is the famous Mt. Waialeale volcano crater.  It is over 5000 feet above sea level, and has the distinction of being the wettest place on earth.  Since 1912, it has averaged 452 inches of rain a year.  And in 1982 it rained 683 inches!  Wish it would send a few clouds over to California.
Heading around the North side of the island we see the Kilauea lighthouse there at the end of that peninsula. Well it's that little white speck.  But it is 52 feet tall.  It opened in 1913 and was active for 62 years when it was decommissioned.  But it still has a beacon, a visitor's center and a National Wildlife Refuge for birds on the cliffs around it.  Always a pretty visit.
And here is Wailua Falls.  It is a 113 foot drop and a popular sight.  You can drive to this.  It is said that ancient Hawaiian's would dive off it to prove their manhood.  Hopefully they kept their manhood after the splash.  
Here is the Kauai Beach Resort where we called home for a week.  Those black things in the front are solar panels on top of parking lot.  Those are new since my last visit.  There are solar panels all over, which apparently is a good idea.  Well shortly after that we landed after a 65 minute ride.
If there is another opportunity like that in the future...I'm in!  So it was a very nice week.  The large group in the AgroLiquid delegation surely also had a great time.  Anyone can go...it's not easy, but well worth it. Many are there every year.  But as for me...thanks for the opportunity Liquid!